Tuesday, November 27, 2012

No Knead Bread (GF/DF)

I'm baaaaaack.  Last week was the usual craziness-before-a-holiday that we can expect, and then I got sick with a fever and headcold on T-giving Day (what we all wish for, right?).  So, blogging took a back burner.

However, I was feeling a bit better by this past Saturday, though I must have still been a bit foggy-brained from my headcold, because I actually believed I could take the plunge and make my first attempt at baking GF bread.

How did it go?  All I can say is I wish I would have tried this sooner!

like my cat-eared bread?  shows i have room for improvement, and that yours doesn't have to be perfect either the first time  ;)

I'll admit that the very idea of making bread has had me wary for years, let alone attempting to make it GF.  I've NEVER made bread before, and it always looked to me like something you have to master.  All I had were visions of me trying to knead a glop of uncooperative "dough" (my pie crusts have been utter failures when it comes time to roll them out), the yeast having gluten, the dough not rising, or the bread coming out like a brick, or...you get the picture.  (anyone else share in this "fear" of bread-making?)

What gave me the kick in the seat to give it a try?

It was two things really:

One, when I read that GF bread dough doesn't even get kneaded - in fact you skip that step completely!

You just:

1. mix the batter (don't even have to let the yeast soak either)
2. put it in the loaf pan and let it rise
3. throw it in the oven!

That's it!  Getting to skip steps makes ya kind of happy about GF bread versus gluten-filled, right?

Two, that there seems to be a very safe yeast by Red Star.  After some research, this article by GlutenFreeGirl is what thoroughly convinced me to try it.  This company goes beyond being just a producer of quality yeast and is really reaching out to GF consumers.

Need more convincing?  Well, once you taste this bread, you won't feel like you're missing out on gluten-filled bread either.  How about that?  ;)

I used this recipe from Karina's Kitchen for my back-bone (I've referred to her blog to inspire and help me for years now!), but I changed several ingredients, and also changed the process a bit as I don't have a bread machine.  Here goes!

You'll Need:

- 1 & 1/2 cup sorghum flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour/starch
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 packet (or 2 & 1/4 tsp) rapid/instant dry yeast (I recommend Red Star yeast)

- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed ftw!)
- 2 eggs, beaten (or 2 tbsp flaxseed meal + 6 tbsp warm water. combine in separate dish and let soak a few mins)

- 1 & 1/4 cup warm (110-115 degrees F) water

*Note: All ingredients should be room temperature before starting so that the yeast will rise.  Also, humidity and temperature affect dough - bread will rise higher on a hot day.

* This recipe makes 1 loaf

To Start:

- Combine wet (except the water) and dry ingredients in separate bowls.
- Using a hand beater or a mixer on a slow setting, add the dry mix into the wet in intervals.
- Still using the mixer, pour water into dough and mix on med-high setting until batter is a nice and semi-thick consistency.
- Pour dough into the bread loaf pan, then cover pan with plastic wrap and set in a dark corner to let the yeast rise for 45 mins to 1 hr.
- After dough has risen, heat oven to 350 F, remove plastic from pan, and bake in oven for 1 hour.
- A good test to know if the bread is baked thoroughly is sticking a baking thermometer into the bread - it should read 208 F when done.

Make sandwiches, dip your bread in your chicken soup, have jam & bread with tea....oh the delight of something so simple.  :)  I made this tuna melt sandwich the day after I made the bread - it's dairy free but has a lot of the same "texture" as a tuna melt.  Hmmm, I may have to do a recipe...

Thanks, all!  Enjoy!!

Thanks to Cindy from vegetarianmama, and simplysugarandglutenfree for the feature!  :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Design Dilemma - Bathroom (& a couch!)

Bathroom decor in a minute, but first, we have a sofa winner!  Our dozen-store quest for a sofa that Karl and I both liked and was within our budget ended as of this past Monday night! *happy dance*.

It came down to two couches: Raymour & Flannigan's "Lily" sofa in smoke gray, and the Klaussner "Serafina" that we found with a small furniture business.

Hmm, not doing it for me.  We need to make this more epic.  It is a couch battle after all!

That's more like it.  Fight...!

If you remember in this entry, this was the mood board created for the living room to mesh our two rather different preferences/styles for furniture:

Both of the sofas we were considering had features shared by the furniture in this board:

Lily - the tufted cushions, exposed feet, nice straight modern lines, and we were kind of digging the smoke gray color (and it came in microfiber, which we liked).
Seraphina - neutral cream color, exposed feet, straight modern lines and armrest detail, and a free microfiber upgrade courtesy of the sales lady, Darlene.

They also were both the same size and shared the same price, and we were able to haggle negotiate a lower price with the salesperson for each so that the discounted price was only a $4 difference between the two.  One major factor though was that we could have the Lily delivered in 3 days or less, where as the Seraphina would arrive in about 4 weeks.  Hmmm.

So what did it come down to for the deciding factor?

The cushions.

Yup.  The cushions.  (that one was all Karl, hehe).  He liked that there were three cushions on the Seraphina so that a person sitting in the middle didn't have to sit on a sloping crack, but their own cushion.  Good point, right?  I personally wanted to stick to the neutral color (even though the gray was nice), so I was very happy to go with the Seraphina. (I'm already wondering if I could add metal nailheads to the armrests for some extra "oomf" when it comes...).

As for the 4 week wait, as Karl also said, we've been fine using lawn chairs for 4 weeks, so we can deal with it another 4.  True dat yo.  :)

On to the bathroom!

First can I just say, it's AMAZING to have a real floor in the bathroom!  In our previous apartment our bathroom was in the basement boiler room with a cement floor.  It was hard to clean and was always super cold.

Totally inviting place to offer your friends who came to visit ^.  The oil and water tanks were behind that curtain.  Note all the mats in the attempt to keep our feet from direct contact with the floor - it was like playing the "lava" game in there.  :-P

Now we have a nice linoleum floor in a bathroom that is on the main level of the house.  *blissful sigh*

As you can see in the above pic, we only had the shower lining curtain at first (which was an improvement on the towel we had the first day).

I wanted to use the shower curtain as the starting point to help inspire me on how to decorate the rest of the bathroom, so I looked through a bunch of curtains online from Kohl's, Target, etc.until my eyes landed on this from BedBathBeyond.

Me likey.

Karl came over to inspect it and gave the "all clear" signal, so we used our BBB 20% off coupon and got it.  You wouldn't believe how excited I was about getting a simple shower curtain - I added it to the shower rod as soon as we got home from the store.  :-P

Halfway on!

Quite remarkable how such a simple thing immediately changed the room.

As I stood in the bathroom admiring the new look, I realized I had a framed photo of a tree (all of our framed art is still sitting around) that would be great for the bathroom, so I grabbed it and hung it opposite of the shower:

$3 Goodwill find ftw!
...and thus started the tree theme that I've been on a kick with.  Mwhahahaaa....

With the shower curtain tree springboard, I've jumped to decor that will feel rustic and "outdoorsey" for the bathroom.  I also am going to continue to run with the dining room's plum theme and have splashes of plum here and there.  I don't have a mood board for the bathroom, but here's some items to give an idea:

I've also bought the curtain material ($3!) that I intend to make as a roman shade.

plum and golden brown stripes ^_^

It's fun as everything is starting to take shape, and not only in the bathroom.  Since ordering our sofa, I've been spending time in our garage painting the "lovely" bookcases that you see sitting to the right in the pic below:

Now in the garage here:

I've been hankering to get these guys painted for the past year, but had no proper place to do so.  Now with the garage and some man-help getting them to there (thanks, Barry!), I've got 2 coats of paint finished, and will be doing some other tweaks to them.  I'll be sharing the before and after of these babies soon! (can't wait!)  :-D

[Edit: see the finished bookcases here]

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Big Bang

Oh yeah.  I'm not feeling the least blue but fantastic baby, because tonight, this girl will be partying with these one of a kind bad boys as they sing love songs.  It is all lies when people say music doesn't break down the language barrier.

A.K.A.: Going to see YG's Big Bang tonight!!!  Taeyang, Daesung, GD, Top, and Seungri.  So blessed to get to see them, and 2NE1 earlier this summer, all in the same year.  Fandom at its geekiest is sure to follow with the next post to share all about it, as I'll be too hoarse from screaming to vocalize it!  ;)


Design Dilemma - Dining Room

Lavender.  Lavender, lavender, lavender....

How do you decorate around lavender colored walls...?

This was my dilemma when I was mulling over how to decorate the dining room in our new place (already one month since we moved!).  We rent, so it's not as easy to paint the walls a different color.  However, I wanted to test my creativity, and this color definitely challenged it.   Here's a pic of the wall color:

Buuut....I got a lucky break when I found a bolt of fabric at my workplace that inspired me with a color scheme I could use in the dining room, and the ideas ran forth from there.  Fabric here:

See the lavender with the moss green, mustard yellow, etc?  Looove those colors already on their own
(p.s. - I'll be making a table runner from this fabric)
There's also some gray in the room from the upholstered dining chairs that came with the place that I've decided to run with (I love gray, and it would tie-in the grays from the adjoining living room).

I've also concluded I did not want to make the dining room too stuffy/formal, so no heavy drapes or oriental rugs or such.  So, I went on a pinterest journey and found some examples of the "relaxed sophistication" I'm going for:

I especially love this last dining room.  The rustic table, grays, the hanging pendant light, simple but interesting wall hangings... I look at this pic and my eyes glaze over a bit.

Alrighty.  So put that all together, and what do we get?  This mood board:

1) Painting: I'm on a tree kick and I like the colors. 2) Plants centerpiece: Greenery - natural.  Maybe have it be a selection of herbs?  3) Curtains: I went back and forth for awhile about what color to get, let alone if they should have a design on them.  In the end I decided to keep them classic and in a thin white material to let in light and keep the room brighter, as the wall color keeps it dark enough in there.  4) Head Chairs: I wanted two head chairs to round out this table.  I decided I liked the gray striped chair better in this room rather than the living room.  The vertical stripes would really draw your eye from the front door as you come in.  I'll have to find another accent chair now for the living room, but that's ok.  :)  5) Apothecary Jar: Need I explain myself for why I like it?  :-P  6) Sideboard/Buffet: I'm not sure where I found this green guy - I think I was just doing a google image search.  I really like the weathered look, and the moss green color is perfecto.
7) Rug: I wanted a gray rug to "ground" (hah) the room, and I like that there's a bit of white in this one.  The pattern is nice as well - not too busy.

I've already gotten the curtain material for the dining room.  I really love the stripe detailing, and the material lets in lots of light.

One day I'll be a real curtain!  Or so she tells me...

I still have to transform the material into curtains, but...ready for this?  The material cost me...... $6.  That includes both panels.  Boo.  Yah.

In the first pic of this blog post you also saw the patiently-awaiting-to-be-'one'-with-the-wall curtain rod I got for $7.99 (Christmas Tree Shop).  Poor curtain rod and his current plight...

Total dining room window treatment = $14.

I will post as progress is made!  ^_^  Also, living room update: we've literally been to a dozen furniture stores now.  Still no sofa.  Good news though - we have found a couch we like as of this past weekend (yay!).  However, we decided to wait an extra week in hopes that there will be a sale for Veteran's Day this coming weekend.  Here's hoping.

Next up for mood boarding - bathroom!  (and I've gotten a head-start with the bathroom - remember I mentioned I'm on a tree kick?  well, here's where it all started...).  Still have the bedroom, office, kitchen, laundry room....I'm presently trying to figure out the bedroom.  I'm thinking blues or greens...something that is soothing.  I need to do some pinterest searching again...any suggestions for the bedroom??

Get updates about our old home restoration, DIY tutorials, and project ideas to your inbox!